Would You Be Offended?

swampwitchJanuary 27, 2008

Would it offend you if you went to someone's house for dinner or a small party and you were asked to wash your hands when you came in because someone who lives in the house has a compromised immune system?

Would it be more polite to be offered some sanitizing gel when you walked in?

Is there any way this could be requested without being offensive?

How do people with autoimmune diseases handle this? Are we doomed with two choices: take a horrible risk and say nothing or don't ever have friends/acquaintances/colleagues over to our house?

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Offended? No way!!! This isn't a matter of poor manners or housekeeping fanaticism or any of that. To tell you the truth, the thing that would upset me was if you didn't mention it and I found out about the situation later. I'd be worried sick that I might have unwittingly caused your family member harm. I truly believe anyone with an ounce of caring -- or common sense -- would feel the same way.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 1:52PM
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When my DH was undergoing chemo and radiation, I didn't ask people to wash....but I was militant about anyone that even thought they might have a sniffle....and after people left I scurried around l;ike a mad woman with the lysol and a cloth wiping everything they had or might have touched.
Then 6 years later when I was doing chemo, I didn't worry so much....even though my white count got down to nothing a couple of times.
If I thought it would avert a possible fatal infection, I would pass out hand sanitizer, lab coats and maybe even surgical masks!...and if I were a visitor, I would be willing to use them!
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 3:46PM
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I would not be offended, on the contrary. I think it's important to take care of our loved ones, especially in such delicate conditions. If I made that request of people and they got offended then I would never want them around again.

Never compromise your health or the health of your loved ones in fear of offending anyone !!!

Many blesings to you !!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 3:52PM
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I wouldn't be offended. I don't think sanitizer is any more polite, or less polite. It's really the same message.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 9:48PM
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I wouldn't be offended, either. I am sure all of your visitors would hate to think that they could be endangering you. I think it's just a matter of asking politely, the same as for anything else. Just because it's a reasonable request doesn't mean that it's okay to be rude.

I can't imagine anyone being offended if you would say something like, "This might sound a little unusual, but because of Cuthbert's condition, his doctor has said we must adopt some extra anti-germ measures around here. Every time we or a guest comes in, we have to wash our hands with this special antibacterial soap [or whatever]. Thanks so much for understanding."

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 11:09PM
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I wouldn't be offfened either. In fact, it reminds me of when my kids were first born and I would ask people to wash their hands before holding them.

Even if it's not 100 proper, it's the "right" thing to do.

Personally, I wouldn't do the hand sanitizer, just ask them to wash their hands.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 11:37PM
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No, under those circumstances I wouldn't be in the least offended. Even better if you explained the situation prior to the visit if possible, so I could be sure to wear fanatically clean clothes (like a freshly drycleaned top coat, since I wouldn't clean something like that every time I wore it).
I'd prefer hand washing to the santising gel. It just doesn't seem right to me that you don't rinse it off. (I know, it's just me :-) )

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 7:07AM
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Another vote for not being offended. I, like Carla, remember asking people to wash their hands before holding my newborn. (My first one, anyway!) Special health circumstances mean you have the right to ask people to make accommodations within reason. Washing hands is certainly within reason.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 2:34PM
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I wouldnt be offended at all. I'd be happy to do it.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 10:46PM
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My friend's son has cancer - she has a "please wash your hands" sign on the door.

Of course it's unusual. But there's a specific reason for it - and it's not to save money on carpet cleaning or to keep things looking pretty- it's to spare life.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 2:10PM
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I would not be offended, but I have to ask: wouldn't it be more important to notify the guests of the situation prior to inviting them over? Suppose one of them has a cold, or is feeling a little "under the weather" because they've been exposed to a flu virus (and they might be or are contagious at that point)... is having them wash their hands when they show up really going to help?

Or maybe I just don't understand the concept of a compromised immune system?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 4:25PM
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I agree -- I wouldn't be offended in the least. I did ask people to wash their hands before holding my newborns as well. The hospital instructed us to do so...Some friends made fun of us, but they did as we asked and it is our job to protect our little ones the best we can. So, they can laugh as much as they want...We stuck by the rules :)

I do agree with telling people in advance as well...In fact, I did tell people that had colds/etc. to please stay away when my babies were first born. It wasn't easy to say, but it's far easier than watching your loved one suffer the consequences because you didn't speak up. And, if you warn people in advance, they won't feel caught off guard when they get to your house.

Do not feel bad about sharing your concerns and wanting to protect your loved ones. True friends will understand (even though it will still feel awkward for you to make the request.)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 5:08PM
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Not offended in the least. I had the same issue when my now 17 year old daughter was born. As a first time mom, I'd never given handwashing a thought when it came to visiting a newborn. After my experience, I never touch a baby or sick person for that matter without handwashing first. It drove/drives me nuts when I see people approach an infant in a social or store setting and immediately reach for the baby's hand. I know there is no intent to spread germs, but the first thing a baby puts in its mouth is his/her hand. Sad that people don't think before reaching out for a hand. I usually don't touch a stranger's child in a store or whatever, but if you must reach out and touch, please touch the child's foot!

Handwashing is so important to so many, sick or well, its a very good idea. However, I still see so many very intelligent people without a lick of sense:))

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 6:37PM
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My dh just finished up his chemo. I put a sign on all the entry doors & in the bathrooms and placed the paper masks by the doors in baskets. By each sink I put out several "designer/scented" liquid soap bottles and pretty paper hand towels on silver trays. I WAS strict about it. A germ is a germ and did the best we could to keep them at bay.

No one was offended and actually found most went out of their way, some took their shoes off outside (our house is a shoes optional house for those who are keeping track- except the muddy barn boots - those are off!), found sitters for their kids, some even refused to come in the house, but talked threw the open window with him or stayed in their cars dispite my dismay and invites inside.

People are caring and will be pleased to do what they can to help. I made it obviouse and it jogged everyones' memory to do it more often.

I didn't feel tacky, bad or guilty about it, this is someone's health, life & recovery! No room for hurt feelings or uncaring guests!

:) Karyn

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 11:47AM
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I wouldn't be offended either. Put it this way, if you are close enough to these people to have them into your home, they should totally understand and not be offended at all.

If you still feel funny about asking, maybe you could come up with a cute rhyme or saying and post it on the front door. But I do agree with letting people know prior to having them over.
Definately don't feel funny about keeping your family healthy!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 2:23PM
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I would not be offended at all, but I do agree with the other posters about being told ahead of time.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 7:39AM
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